Be Spam Compliant: Best Practices for Australian SMS Marketing
Unsolicited spam is a guaranteed way to get on your customer’s off-side. When it comes to SMS marketing – don’t be that business.
Australian spam laws and data regulations outline how you can send SMS within these guidelines. Keep your customers happy and create a mutually beneficial and respectful relationship.
If you send marketing SMS messages or someone else does on your behalf – it’s sensible to school yourself on spam laws. We’ve done the hard work for you, so here’s a get-me-up-to-speed-on-spam summary.
When your business uses SMS marketing in Australia, you need to have permission from the recipient. If someone is sending out messages for you, you still need permission from every individual you intend to text.
Permission comes in two forms: Express and Inferred.
When someone gives express permission, they agree to you sending them SMS marketing. This overt kind of permission is granted by filling in a form, ticking a box online, or giving consent to communication over the phone or in person.
Don’t make the mistake of sending an SMS to ask for permission: this in itself is a marketing message. Have records of when, who and how a customer gives express permission because under the Act – it’s on you to produce proof of permission.
Inferred permission to send bulk SMS marketing is less direct. When the recipient deliberately and directly supplies their address, it’s rational to conclude they’re prepared to receive text marketing. This indirect permission is also assumed when a customer has a continuing relationship with your business and marketing. This could be if they have a subscription to your service or a customer account with you. Note – this doesn’t include transactional messages post-purchase.
Always Identify Yourself
Always make yourself known as the sender. You must always ID your name or business name in your message. If anyone is sending SMS marketing messages on your behalf, they must still ID you as the authorising business with the correct legal name of your business, or your name and Australian Business Number (ABN).
COVID-19 Contact-tracing info and ID
If your business is collecting customer records, like phone numbers or email addresses for COVID-19 contact tracing – you can’t use these details in SMS marketing. Significant fines apply for the misuse of this data.
Always allow unsubscribe
Make your unsubscribe function easy, obvious and accessible. You don’t want people to feel forced into staying on your SMS list, and besides – it’s illegal. Under the Spam Act, every marketing message your business sends must include an ‘unsubscribe’ option.
So what makes your ‘unsubscribe’ legit? It must have clear instructions and honour any unsubscribe request within five working days, without any payment fees. It can’t cost more than a standard text, and the number needs to be serviceable for at least 30 days after sending your SMS. Lastly – no soliciting personal info or asking customers to create or log in to an account to unsubscribe.
The no-harvest clause
Using a supply list generated by address-harvesting software is also a no-no. As is using or supplying address-harvesting software itself. Don’t assist others in breaking the rules, either. If you do make a mistake and break a spam rule, own up to it. That way, you can try to remedy it, and when your case is reviewed, it may be resolved with no recourse.
Certain organisations are exempt from SPAM law in Australia. These include:
- Government bodies
- Registered charities
- Registered political parties
- Educational institutions (for messages sent to current and former students).
- Purely factual messages
We support responsible sending
Our SMS service has features geared towards compliance, automated to lessen your load. The Burst platform is built to ensure your marketing messages are spam compliant.
Our online platform will auto-add ‘Opt-out reply STOP’ to your messages when you create a campaign. If the sender ID you’re messaging from contains a word (alpha-numeric), Burst adds an automatically-generated unique unsubscribe link.
Save more time with automatic management of all opt-out requests. Streamline your next campaign; Burst SMS will automatically exclude opt-outs, so you can take that off your manual to-do list.
Spam regulations are serious. Burst SMS makes it easy to send responsibly.